EUCLID Summit Zagreb, Croatia
I am grateful to the U.S. State Department and Indiana University for the opportunity to attend the EUCLID Summit in Zagreb, Croatia.
Otherwise in short, the summit is organised as an opportunity to learn about current trends within charity and social enterprise sectors across Europe. There were opportunities to gain ‘know-how’ knowledge on starting-up, facilitating growth and generally becoming more efficient.
Having studied this very topic over the summer, and presented my own ideas, I found this event very helpful. It was yet another event that made me value the diversity within Europe and the opportunity to share ideas. Beyond this, it was useful in prompting me to look to the future, and about creating an enterprise that can solve social issues.
The Actual Event:
The schedule was designed so that you could attend the workshops that were most useful to you. Here are my personal top 3 ‘points to takeaway’:
1. Social Enterprise is a new phenomenon:
Social Entrepreneurship is a fairly new model. From micro-financing, to diversity initiatives or fair-trading, a social enterprise aims to use business to solve social issues.Its beauty is that it allows individuals to address wider issues and similarly to charities, is a non-governmental alternative for change.
It was clear from Croatian sponsors and entrepreneurs, that social enterprise is a growing phenomenon there. The late ‘know-how cafés’ also allowed me to see just how much it was growing in other countries across Europe as well. The opening speech by Mirka Jozic, Head of City Office for the Economy, explained how the Croatian government is increasingly investing in social entrepreneurship through education, visibility and finance. She emphasised the importance of education in making sure that future generations see social enterprise as a viable career option.
This appreciation is not unique to Croatia, the world is awakening to the idea that individuals can make social change, and they can do this professionally and efficiently.
2.Life in 2020:
The first thing to note is that this only 4 years away! However, key speaker Juliet Cornford presented a very optimistic position about businesses and social enterprises by this time.
Trends show that businesses are more and more interested in corporate social responsibility and social impact. It was brought to our attention that the Innocence Smoothie Company donates 10% of all its revenue to charitable work. Given its large revenues and constant expansion, this amount is considerable.
Moreover, legislation is moving in a way that requires companies to think about their social impact. Juliet’s proposal therefore, is that by 2020 there will be little real difference between businesses and social enterprises, as both entities will look to address social issues.
This shift will have real impact on society, it might help to solve problems such as elderly care, childcare and climate change.
One thing is for sure, social entrepreneurship is taking off and by 2020 growth within the sector will be highly visible.
3. GSEI Fulbright Alumni
Of course one of the highlights of the trip was reconnecting with some of the GSEI Fulbright alumni. It’s great to know that we have developed life-long friendships.
To find more information on the summit, you can click here: www.euclidnetwork.eu